The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened a case on September 16, 2019, to investigates complaints regarding steering and weld issues on 2018 and 2019 model year Jeep Wranglers. The investigation involves an estimated 270,000 vehicles. The new model Wrangler had previously had a recall over steering complaints that were caused by “out-of-specification weld”, as FCA put it, on the front track bar bracket.
The probe stems from a letter the NHTSA received on October 24, 2018, that was a citizen petitioning the NHTSA to open the investigation regarding weld deficiencies. The official NHTSA document states the Problem Description is: “Various frame weld quality concerns, such as excessive slag, lack of and/or over-penetration, overweld or weld drip, weld splash and porous welds, and steering related issues that may be a result of the aforementioned weld quality concerns.”
The document shows there are 152 recognized complaints about weld issues. The larger concern, however, is steering issues. The document states there are 3,566 complaints deemed as “Other” with “Steering related complaints, including steering shimmy/wobble, intermittent lock-up, and looseness/wandering” as a description.
From the initial letter the NHTSA received, a series of steps were taken to qualify the petition, to grant or deny it. Information was sent to FCA and due to the previous track bar weld recall, the NHTSA opted to include the steering complaints with the weld complaints. The information FCA provided NHTSA did not answer their questions.
Currently, NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) granted the petition and has opened the investigation to “further assess the scope, frequency, and potential safety-related consequences of alleged weld quality deficiencies and steering related concerns on the MY (model year) 2018-2019 ‘JL’ Jeep Wrangler vehicles.”
At this time, there have been no reports of crashes, fires, injuries, or fatalities related to these issues. A timeline has not been provided by the NHTSA.